Relevancy Clause?

We can all think of times where breaking the law seems perfectly acceptable and even beneficial, yet according to the law you are still in the wrong and thus should be punished. I am of course referring primarily to Civil code. 

Civil code is basically a long list of codified laws that have a direct cause and effect relationship if you are caught breaking them. But would it be beneficial to have something similar to Jury nullification? We all know that police choose when to enforce Civil code, but what if judges could as well? 

For instance this article tells of a man using his phone as a GPS not to talk or text. 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2306192/Man-given-ticket-looking-MAP-phone-driving.html

Unfortunately, this is not the original article that I read and as such fails to mention that he was in a dead stop traffic jam and seeking an alternative route. So the facts are 1) he is not moving 2) he is not talking or texting. Should the ticket stand? 

I would argue against it.  

Here is a link to the CVC in question

 http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc23123.htm 

More Specifically he was cited under this subsection

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc23123_5.htm

But we can all think of other hypothetical situations where enforcing certain laws seem pointless. For instance, if i Jaywalk at 10 o’clock at night on main street of my hometown where the speed limit is 25 should i be ticketed? Would it matter if there were no cars in sight? I would argue that the context in which the law is being applied means everything. Another hypothetical, it is 3 AM and you are on the freeway with no other cars in sight. Should you be ticketed for going faster than 65 even though there is clearly no danger posed to anyone?

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I would like to see Judges applying Civil law by what it is meant to prevent, not every minute infraction. I also believe that the burden should be on the citing officer that there was indeed a clear and present danger presented by said act, not simply that the act was prohibited. 

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7 Responses to Relevancy Clause?

  1. newbieblogster13 says:

    I agree with you on the most part, especially about the judges using their own judgment when to apply civil law and also on the case of the man on his GPS during non-moving traffic. Many people use GPS on their phone to get around especially in new areas or trying to find a specific place and not everyone has a GPS that has vocal options. Even then, many people would want to look at the proposed route to make sure it doesn’t lead to anywhere funny like those articles of people driving off cliffs or into rivers because of complete, blind trust on the proposed route. Going back to the original topic, I agree that certain times civil law shouldn’t be applied, however I can also understand it from an official of the laws perspective. Too many rulings or judgments allowing certain laws to be violated can bring about a slippery slope. Some people represent the idiom “give someone an inch and they’ll take a mile” as when they are let go for one offense, rather than thinking they’ll be more careful next time, they may think that they can get away with a lot more things. Speeding once alone on the highway may lead to speeding more times or even a bit faster during a busy traffic and jaywalking once at 10 P.M. may lead to jaywalking at 7 P.M. during busy traffic with the mentality, “as long as I’m careful.” Of course, I have never actually seen a person get cited for jaywalking but other offenses can still be taken too far. I also understand that people who get caught once and charged for it still offend thinking, “I’ll be more careful next time” or “I’ll keep an eye out for the cops better next time,” but it’s still probably a better alternative than letting the person go completely.

    • You are probably right about how most people would react. I was thinking of it as more of a check on police powers though. The police currently have very open authority to stop, cite, and detain you. They may also search your car if you are pulled over for a routine traffic violation without a warrant. So what i would hope to accomplish by having a “Relevancy Clause” is make it more difficult for cops to do that. If they want to stop you they have to have a reason, and if they have no reason they cannot stop you and search your car. I would rather have police out stopping people from doing serious crimes rather than rolling stop signs or not using the crosswalk.

      • dlsimps2 says:

        I’m sorry but I don’t believe that police have the open authority to cite someone just because it makes their dress fly up. It’s called P.C. as in probable cause to pull you over. You could be stopped because your tail light is out, you rolled a stop sign, or because YOU deemed it safe enough to do 90 on a 65 freeway. All of this is for not only your safety but for the safety of the unknown ahead. Is it likely that speeding down the freeway at 3 a.m. will have any dangerous repercussions? no but what if a mentally disabled kid just went walk about from his house at 3 a.m. and ends up on a collision course with your car?
        They can’t search your car unless you give them permission or they can see something, plain view, that could include weapons, drugs/paraphernalia, or open alcohol. Or you/your car match a description of someone say fleeing a bank robbery (P.C. remember). Other than that you can request that they get a search warrant if they would like to search your vehicle.
        Wasn’t your post about giving judges discretionary powers like police officers anyway?

  2. Ok for starters, if someone decided to walk across the freeway at 3 A.M. it would not matter if i was going 65 or 90 i would simply not be able to react in time. That is why people hit deer at night etc.

    And probable cause is a lofty term. I have been pulled over many times. 6 to be exact, and of those times i was ticketed 3 times. Of those 3 times i went to court and was proven innocent on 2 of those. They have searched my car 2 times without my consent or giving me a reason. Probable cause amounts to nothing much when you are actually dealing with the police. As far as they are concerned they do what they want first and justify it to a judge later.

    What i am proposing is that Judges be given more authority to throw out cases altogether. They already can lower it to a non-moving violation or cut the fine dramatically. What i am proposing is not much of a stretch on what already exists. it would only be the next logical step.

    Follow up question for dlsimps2: Do you believe that police have to justify themselves to you the person in question? And if so have you any personal experience to support this? In my experience driving past 11pm constitutes probable cause.

  3. dlsimps2 says:

    I’m not disagreeing with your main point of this post I’m just having a hard time understanding how it turned into a soap box about police officers.

    I cannot comment on your driving record as I was not present but it seems that officer’s discretion has served you well at least 3 out of 6 times making a decent argument for judge’s discretion, but not necessarily for the ability of individuals to make good decisions on their own.

    Justify themselves to me in what sense, what is your scenario? In the sense of my personal experience only being pulled over once, the officer identified why he pulled me over, I was driving without my lights on at night, he ascertained that it wasn’t my normal vehicle and my inexperience with said vehicle was why my lights weren’t on so I didn’t get a ticket. Again I can’t comment on your personal experience but I personally would look at the various reasons for getting pulled over and modify my behavior to avoid future run ins with the law.

    • I am using the problem that exists I.E. police having in my opinion too much authority to elaborate that there needs to be a check on that authority. I.E. judges throwing out BS cases. I would not classify that as a soapbox.

      What I mean by justify themselves to you is did they explain why you were stopped or did they interrogate you first? Also if they ever searched you car did they ask first? Or explain why they were doing it?

      Since you have only been pulled over once you have not experienced any of these things. If you have I think your view on police authority would be somewhat different.

      As for my driving record i was not ticketed those 3 times because i knew my rights or i was simply not guilty.

      I will list off all of the incidents for you to.

      1) Suspected of drunk driving. They searched my car even though i was clearly not drunk. It was 1 A.M. In my hometown of Pollock Pines Ca.

      2) Asked if i knew why he pulled me over 3 times. I said that i had no idea. He accused me of rolling a stop. I said show me the proof. Cop got mad, said i had a flat tire and my address was not current. Then a few minutes later came back gave me my papers back and told me “you got lucky”. (From the language the officer used it was clear he wanted me to admit guilt)

      3) Accused of being drunk. I drove a coworker home after work because his car broke down. As i was trying to leave the neighborhood i got lost, then pulled over, questioned, and finally released. It was 11:30 PM

      The only possible explanation was that I am young and was driving late at night. Unless you think there was a flaw with my driving in any of those incidences…

      To me all of these only confirm that Judges need to be more discreet about cases. Or in other words having someone admit guilt should not count as evidence. Naive people fall into that trap more often than not.

      • dlsimps2 says:

        It’s clear that you and I can argue until we are blue in the fingers but I believe we’ve gotten away from anything productive within the context of the blog. If you’d like to continue this discussion we can definitely do so in or after class but I’m not sure that I can change any part of your opinion just as I know that you cannot change mine.
        Dacia

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